What is a “Friend”?
A “Friend” is someone who can accompany a Police Office at any conduct investigatory interview at any of the stages of both the conduct and performance proceedings.
What can a “Friend” do?
A Friend can:
- Advise the police officer throughout the proceedings under both the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008 and the Police (Performance) Regulations 2008.
- Where covered under the Federation fund rules and when entitled to have legal representation present within the stages of either Conduct or Performance Interviews the “Friend” can advise on how to gain legal representation and completion of relevant paperwork.
- They can make representations to the appropriate authority concerning any aspect of the proceedings under the Conduct and Performance Regulations.
- They can accompany a police officer to any interview, meeting or hearing, which forms part of any proceedings under the Conduct or Performance Regulations.
What they cannot and will not do is answer questions on the police officers behalf. It is for the police officer concerned to speak for himself or herself when asked questions.
Who can be a “Friend”?
Under the new regulations a Friend can be
- A serving police officer
- A police staff member, or
- Where the officer concerned is a member of a police force, a person nominated by their staff association, who is not otherwise involved in the matter.
On the Joint Branch Board we have a number of “Friends”, who have attended Intermediate and Advance conduct training in relation to the Conduct and Performance Regulations.
These reps are listed below:
Tracy De Young, Graham Riley, Joe Ineson, Frazer Mackie, Caroline Paxford, Andrea Thompson-Taylor, Dave Friend, Leigh West, Simon Caldwell, Trevor Moss, Mike Harrison, Miles Ajinkya, Sarah Johnson, Steve McGrory, and Barry Sweeny.
The above Conduct Reps can be contacted through the Force e mail system or the Federation Office on 0844 612 0012, or the Conduct Leader on 07989 249115. There is also the option of calling the Conduct phone, which could be with anyone of the Conduct reps on 07967 206197.
What is A Regulation 14/15 Notice?
In essence the Regulation 15 (National form Reg 14) notice has replaced the Regulation 9 notice, and should set out what you are being investigated for. It should also tell you whether or not the appropriate authority (The DCC) is considering the matter to be Misconduct (if proven the upper sanction is a final written warning) or Gross Misconduct (if proven the ultimate sanction being loss of career). Under Regulation 16 you have the right to make a written response to the Regulation 15 notice. However, you only have 10 working days in which to make your response. Failure to make a response could result in an adverse inference being drawn against you.
It is therefore imperative that if you are served with a Regulation 14/15 notice that you contact a Federation Conduct Rep immediately.
What should I do if I find myself in trouble?
When you first discover that you have a complaint against you DO NOT do or say anything, nor make a written statement. We are not advocating that you become militant, but that you gain Federation advice prior to engaging fully with the process (If a copy of your PNB is requested provide it).
The first thing that you need to be mindful of is the fact that under the Police Reform Act 2002 the Force regardless of how vexatious the complaint is, are obliged to investigate the complaint.
Remembering that under Regulation 16 there is the opportunity to make a written response to the Reg 15 notice within 10 working days you need to make contact with the Federation as soon as possible.
Your Federation Friend will liaise with Professional Standards on your behalf, arrange to meet you in person for a discussion, assist you with a statement under caution if required, arrange a time and date for an interview if required and where necessary arrange for legal advice and or attendance.
Once the investigation process as commenced you should be updated as to the progress at least once every four weeks and you can ask to see the Terms of Reference and in cases regarding conduct disclosure should be provided.
What are the potential outcomes if the force proves my conduct as fell below the standards of professional behaviour?
If the alleged breach of conduct was assessed as Misconduct and as been proven then there will be a Misconduct meeting, which will be held on Division and usually chaired by a Chief Inspector. The potential outcomes are:
- No Further Action
- Management advice
- Written warning (12 months)
- Final written warning (18 months)
* There is no entitlement to legal representation but your Federation Friend will be able to mitigate on your behalf.
If the alleged breach of conduct was assessed as Gross Misconduct and it as been proven then there will be a Misconduct Hearing, which will be held at Head Quarters and usually chaired by a member of ACPO rank. The potential outcomes are:
- No Further Action
- Management advice
- Written warning
- Final written warning
- Extension of a final written warning
- Dismiss with notice
- Dismiss without notice
Will I receive Federation Funding for Legal Assistance in Criminal and Misconduct cases?
If you are arrested or interviewed in respect of a criminal matter then any legal advice that you receive AT A POLICE STATION (including the PSD office) is currently covered by the Legal Aid scheme as it is for any other person in similar circumstances.
Due to recent changes in the Legal Aid scheme you would not be covered for any meetings with a solicitor at their office, nor would you be covered for legal representations at a Magistrates Court and due to the forthcoming “means testing” being introduced, nor at Crown Court. (Gloucester Federation Insurance Scheme now includes the provision on legal cover for non- duty matters, dependant on certain criteria being met)
If the circumstances which led to the Criminal complaint are DUTY RELATED then, if you meet the criteria within the funding rules, you will be covered for further representation by the Federation. Regardless of the circumstances your Federation Friend will be able to advise you accordingly.
If you are the subject of conduct proceedings that has been assessed as Gross Misconduct, then generally speaking you will be covered for legal assistance by the Federation. In these circumstances the Federation will provide access to our retained solicitors, Russell Jones and Walker. If you wish to use other solicitors, this will be at your own expense. Whilst there are other solicitors out there with knowledge of Police Regulations, Russell Jones and Walker are currently proving to be the best.
What is a Local Resolution?
Local resolution is a way of dealing with a complaint by solving, explaining, clearing up or settling the matter directly with the complainant and it is not a disciplinary process. It will not lead to any disciplinary proceedings against you and once complete the complaint will be closed, unless during this process you admit to having committed a criminal act or breached the standards of professional behaviour to the point of committing an act of misconduct.
A local resolution is a simple but effective way for a member of the community to complain about the behaviour of the staff within the Constabulary, providing an opportunity for people to tell the police what had happened and for the Constabulary to find out why what happened with the outcomes aimed at organisational and individual learning, not sanctions.
Whilst you do not have the right to Federation representation during this process you should be told fully about the process, what will happen and the outcomes and within the IPCC Statutory Guidance there is now the ability to have a complaint upheld but not substantiated.